One Dinner in NYC - Unique but American
Visiting NYC in late october - want a unique NYC-only dinner but not overly adventurous- my dining companion is conservative in tastes - i.e. no sushi, no foie gras etc. (not my choice but there you go). Also needs to be casual - i.e. no jacket/no tie required. Italian OK but would rather have something new americanish - or even steak is okay. Any ideas? Also any Bobby Flay restaurant is out. Is that specific enough?
I highly recommend Keens. It's been in its 36th St. location since 1885! Thus, in addition to excellent steaks, chops (the signature mutton chop is famous), etc., there's unmatchable old NY ambiance, i.e., walls filled with memorabilia + rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings. No jacket required.
Is Katz's too casual? It's unique, NYC-only, not too adventurous (if Pastrami is a walk on the wild side, which seems unlikely, there's always good old corned beef), casual... I guess there's nothing new-americanish about it.
Anyway, Keens and Peter Luger are both great choices - NYC does have a proud tradition of delicious steaks - and if a sandwich isn't properly formal, I'd like to second both of those recommendations. But I think Katz's is a much more uniquely NYC meal. I mean, it might not be Peter Luger's, but you can get a pretty great steak in many major cities in America. But a pastrami like Katz's? Not exactly commonplace.
Peter Luger's and Keen's are very NYC. Katz' (and Second Avenue Deli if it re-opens before your visit) is more of a lunch place. Though sometimes one can be in the mood for a deli dinner! We went to the Bridge Cafe this weekend. We wanted to try Belle de Jour (replaced Radio Mexico) but it still hasn't re-opened. The Bridge is a restaurant near the Brooklyn Bridge/South Street Seaport (one of the few in the area with good food). It's also one of the oldest restaurants in the city, rich with history. We had a delicious dinner and the service was excellent. I've lived near the Bridge Cafe for over 10 years and couldn't remember if I've ever been. I hope to post a report soon.
Also, Delmonico's is downtown. I've never been so can't comment on food, service, etc. It is where American classics like Delmonico steaks, Baked Alaska, Lobster Newberg, etc. were invented. Back in the days when oysters were served 24 hours a day at the Fulton Fish Market (sadly in the Bronx now) and they were cheap.
p.s. The Bridge Cafe cuisine (American) meets your requirements and dress is casual. After dinner you can go for a walk and take in the Brooklyn Bridge and Woolworth building views.
Belle de Jour (French) was still closed so we went to the Bridge Cafe (American) about two weeks ago on a Friday night. We did not have a reservation. The host seated us almost immediately. There was a large group dining, looked like a rehearsal dinner. Noise level was still fine. Adam assisted with the wine list (server was astute enough to suggest we speak with him). A belated report follows below.
Service was excellent. Wine list could be enhanced and was not as extensive as The Harrison (another American restaurant downtown). We had the following with a bottle of wine:
*Warmed maytag bleu cheese souffle, fruit and grapas in port syrup
*Steamed P.E.I. mussels with andouille sausage, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, spicy tomato broth
*Duck - sliced duck breast with shredded duck breast in a mound on top of the slices
*Goat cheese grits
Warm chocolate indulgence with vanilla gelato
Everything was delicious and satisfying. Nothing spectacular or cutting edge. This is a lovely, historic, charming restaurant with good, solid food and excellent service. Tucked under the Brooklyn Bridge it's a cozy place for a rainy or snowy night or when you don't want to wander far from home.
thank you for all your suggestions
i couldn't get to luger's or keen's - being on a fairly rapid paced trip meant making decisions on the go - had a reservation at telepan but had to cancel it - so we ended up at porter house at the time warner center - at least i got to brush past per se and study their tasting menu from the outside - also masa
porter house was not disappointing at all - i thought the porterhouse steak was very good and though i'm not usually one to go for steak sauces, the bbq steak sauce they had was really good - i was ready to start drinking it with a straw - overall the food was good but the choices really standard and safe - which suited my dining companion - service was perfect - not the best restaurant in the world but serviceable and probably great for a business dinner
also ate at carnegie deli in nyc - best corned beef i've ever had and probably will ever have - didn't have room for their cheesecake which looked amazing as it went by the table
and for pizza we ended up at john's in times square and while i'm no ny pizza expert, this was one of the best pizzas i've ever had - between three of us we got a large and a small as well as appetizers and garlic bread - and there was not a slice of pizza left behind - that was a testament to how good it was